Photo: Getty Images
More and more each month it seems we are reading and learning of the extensive spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be losing steam.
HPV – leading cause of cervical cancer in women – is the second most common cause of cancer death for women and is a common cause of cervical and anogenital cancers, and some portion of head and neck cancers, particularly oral cavity and oropharynx cancers.
"Currently, there is no cure for HPV, and the available treatment options involve destroying the affected tissue. We have developed a protein inhibitor that blocks HPV protein expression in cell culture, a first step toward a topically-applied treatment for this cancer-causing virus," said senior author James Baleja, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) and member of the biochemistry program faculty at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.
James Baleja, PhD, is part of a team of researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine who have developed a protein-based inhibitor that could provide a topical treatment for HPV.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published online in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB Journal). Researchers report that patients infected with cancer-causing HPV may someday have an alternative to surgical and harsh chemical treatments.
According to the study, “HPV affects approximately 20 million people in the United States, making it the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 100 types of HPV of which more than 40 are sexually transmitted. These include two high-risk types, HPV-16 and HPV-18, which cause the majority of cervical and anogenital cancers, and some portion of head and neck cancers, particularly oral cavity and oropharynx cancers. Cervical cancer is diagnosed in nearly 500,000 women each year, killing 250,000 annually.”